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The Way of All Flesh NT

The Way of All Flesh NT

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Published by Camelia Airinei

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Published by: Camelia Airinei on Apr 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Way of All Flesh
Samuel Butler 
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The Way of All Flesh
Chapter I
When I was a small boy at the beginning of the centuryI remember an old man who wore knee-breeches andworsted stockings, and who used to hobble about thestreet of our village with the help of a stick. He must havebeen getting on for eighty in the year 1807, earlier thanwhich date I suppose I can hardly remember him, for Iwas born in 1802. A few white locks hung about his ears,his shoulders were bent and his knees feeble, but he wasstill hale, and was much respected in our little world of Paleham. His name was Pontifex.His wife was said to be his master; I have been told shebrought him a little money, but it cannot have beenmuch. She was a tall, square-shouldered person (I haveheard my father call her a Gothic woman) who hadinsisted on being married to Mr Pontifex when he was young and too good-natured to say nay to any womanwho wooed him. The pair had lived not unhappilytogether, for Mr Pontifex’s temper was easy and he soonlearned to bow before his wife’s more stormy moods.Mr Pontifex was a carpenter by trade; he was also atone time parish clerk; when I remember him, however,he had so far risen in life as to be no longer compelled to
The Way of All Flesh
736work with his own hands. In his earlier days he had taughthimself to draw. I do not say he drew well, but it wassurprising he should draw as well as he did. My father,who took the living of Paleham about the year 1797,became possessed of a good many of old Mr Pontifex’sdrawings, which were always of local subjects, and sounaffectedly painstaking that they might have passed for the work of some good early master. I remember them ashanging up framed and glazed in the study at the Rectory,and tinted, as all else in the room was tinted, with thegreen reflected from the fringe of ivy leaves that grewaround the windows. I wonder how they will actuallycease and come to an end as drawings, and into what newphases of being they will then enter.Not content with being an artist, Mr Pontifex mustneeds also be a musician. He built the organ in the churchwith his own hands, and made a smaller one which hekept in his own house. He could play as much as he coulddraw, not very well according to professional standards,but much better than could have been expected. I myself showed a taste for music at an early age, and old Mr Pontifex on finding it out, as he soon did, became partialto me in consequence.
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